Ravidās, who is also known as Raidās in Hindi and Rohidas in Marathi, is remembered in India as the greatest poet-saint of the → bhakti tradition from an untouchable community. He was a younger contemporary of → Kabīr, but the precise dates of Kabīr’s and Ravidās’s lives are not known, although contemporary scholarship suggests that Ravidās probably lived from around 1500 to 1550 CE (Callewaert & Friedlander, 1992). Ravidās and Kabīr are thought to have lived and worked within communities where → oral traditions, rather than written traditions, were dominant. Due to this, there is little likelihood of finding either Ravidās’ works in their exact original form or the precise factual details of his life. However, his importance is evident from the wide range of traditions in which stories circulate about his life and spiritual achievements. In these sources his life story is not told in the form of a modern biography but rather in a narration of a series of episodes that witness to his authority as a spiritual figure. In this entry I will not attempt to construct a historical biography of Ravidās, but instead trace the outlines of how the episodes in his life were contextualised over time by different communities.
|Title of host publication||Brill's Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Volume Four|
|Editors||Knut A. Jacobsen, H. Basu, A. Malinar, V. Narayanan|
|Place of Publication||Leiden|
|Publication status||Published - 2012|